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Thursday, December 1, 2016

12 Days of Christmas -- Day 1

It is the season of giving. In that spirit, I am pleased to launch 12 days of giving to my fellow teachers.

How Many Ways? is an interactive math bulletin board. It is a fun, open ended, computation challenge that works well as an anchor activity, a math center, a sponge activity, or for fast finishers.   It may be easily adapted to any elementary grade level and provides differentiation within a single grade. 

Use the ornament icons to create an array on the bulletin board. Add the operation(s) you want your students to use and post the question along with a target number.

Now invite your students to determine how many ways they can reach the target number.  Students may use each ornament only once, however, they need not use every ornament.  Add an extra challenge by requiring that the numbers used touch each other. 

To determine how many ways a student is able to achieve the target number, I give each one a strip of adding machine paper. Something about that long, thin ribbon of paper is enticing to children.  But, a piece of notebook paper or a recycled sheet will work just fine.

To get double the learning from this activity, require the participants to have a friend check their equations for accuracy. (Calculators preclude lots of disagreements.) Then allow them to hang their strips in order from the largest number of equations to the smallest. (That's triple the learning!)

Change the target number daily and you have an interactive bulletin board that is good for the entire month. Or, change the operation signs to expand the challenge. Or do both!

If you teach young children, a set of ornaments with counting dots is included. If you teach in the upper grades, post all 4 operations and turn your students loose on multi-step equations. 

It pains me to give a gift with strings attached, but this product will only be FREE for 48 hours.  

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